For many in the marketing community, the rise and prominence of social media was a radical departure. Now you weren’t just speaking to your audience, they were speaking back and influencing people’s perception of your brand outside of your control. This is a monumental shift, right? Not really.

In his book, The Micro-Script Rules, Bill Schley offers an observation about the role of social media for marketing and makes the argument that it’s not really all that radical at all. His observation is that the power of social media comes from it being a new take on one of the oldest (and still most effective) advertising practices in the world, word-of-mouth marketing.

When you think of it like that, there’s nothing new about it. You want to engage people to be ambassadors on your behalf while limiting the amount of negative conversation around your brand. The difference is understanding the platforms and how to effectively achieve this.

Do you really need to do this? Yes. According to a 2013 global study from Nielson on the most trusted forms of advertising, “recommendations from people I know” topped the list with 85% of respondents claiming it was the most trustworthy form of communication. This means someone else talking about your brand is more credible than you doing it.

Clearly this isn’t the only use of social media but it’s a powerful component that shouldn’t be ignored. There’s nothing radical about that.